Economic War on Iran: Trump Sets Sanction Policy for Entire World

Trump will grant no waivers on purchases of Iranian oil. Effectively, this is an economic declaration of war on Iran.

Starting November 4, Trump threatens sanctions on any nation or company that trades with Iran.

Effectively, Trump sets sanction policy for the whole world, by proclamation.

Trump's actions constitute an economic declaration of war on Iran. Any country that does not comply with his mandates will also be at war.

Deadline November 4

The U.S. is pressing allies to end all imports of Iranian oil by a Nov. 4 deadline and doesn’t want to offer any extensions or waivers as it follows through on President Donald Trump’s decision to quit the 2015 Iran nuclear deal, a State Department official said.

When Trump announced the U.S. was quitting the nuclear accord he warned that other nations would face sanctions unless they stopped trading with the Islamic Republic. Iran reached the 2015 agreement, which called for it to curb its nuclear program in return for the easing of sanctions, with the U.S., the U.K., France, Germany, China and Russia.

Saudi Arabia has a maximum production capacity of just above 12 million barrels a day, according to the International Energy Agency. If Iran exports drop more than one million barrels a day, Riyadh is likely to have to pump at maximum capacity for the first time since the late 1960s.

“If Saudi Arabia can not offset the loss of Iranian oil, then Washington could always tap into its Strategic Petroleum Reserve. So could China,” said Jan Stuart, an oil economist at consultant Cornerstone Macro LLC in New York.

Zero Tolerance

The Wall Street Journal says U.S. Signals Zero Tolerance on Future Iran Oil Exports

The U.S. expects all countries to cut oil imports from Iran to “zero” by Nov. 4 or risk sanctions, a senior U.S. State Department official said on Tuesday, expressing a toughening of the Trump administration’s Iran policy as Washington tries to politically and economically isolate Tehran.

Buyers of Iranian crude had expected the U.S. would allow them time to reduce their oil imports over a much longer period of time, by issuing sanctions waivers for nations that made significant efforts to cut their purchases.

But the senior State Department official said on Tuesday the administration doesn’t plan to issue any waivers, and would instead be asking other Middle Eastern crude exporters over the coming days to ensure oil supply to global markets.

War it Is

Trump's actions against Iran constitute war. Label it economic war if you want. Moreover, the whole world must comply. Any country that doesn't will find itself at economic war with the US as Trump will sanction them.

Why?

Flashback September 26, 2017: Trump’s Top General Says Iran Honoring Nuke Deal.

“The briefings I have received indicate that Iran is adhering to its JCPOA obligations,” Gen. Joseph Dunford wrote in answers to questions in advance of his hearing before the Senate Armed Services Committee, using an acronym for the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action.

“It makes sense to me that our holding up agreements that we have signed, unless there’s a material breach, would have an impact on others’ willingness to sign agreements,” Dunford said.

Dunford follows Secretary of State Rex Tillerson who said last week that Iran remains in “technical compliance” with the deal, but said the plan has not stopped the threat posed by Tehran.

The other countries that signed the nuclear deal want it to continue, and European ambassadors on Monday reiterated their support for keeping the deal as it is structured.  In fact, even if Congress unilaterally re-imposes sanctions on the Iranian oil sector, manyexperts agreethat it would be hard to seriously choke off Iranian oil exports.

Experts

On September 25, 2017, "the experts" said Trump Will Be Hard-Pressed to Get Allies to Stop Buying Iran’s Oil.

The Trump administration almost certainly won’t be able to replicate the chokehold Obama placed on the Iranian economy in 2012 by limiting its crude oil exports.

Those sanctions, which reduced Iran’s exports from about 2.5 million barrels a day down to less than 1.5 million barrels a day, were ultimately successful for several different reasons. European and Asian countries supported the U.S. approach, parallel European sanctions had a crippling effect on Iranian exports, and U.S. diplomats coaxed, cajoled, and pleaded with oil-buying countries like China, India, and South Korea and successfully convinced them to limit their purchases of Iranian oil.

Since sanctions were lifted at the beginning of 2016, Iran has clawed back much of its share of the global oil market. By August of this year, it was pumping as as much oil as it had in a year (3.8 million barrels a day) and exporting 2.5 million barrels a day to traditional buyers. Europe is the main destination for Iranian oil, followed by China, India, South Korea, and Japan.

There’s no way to put that genie back in the bottle now, former government officials and energy experts say.

I wonder what the experts are saying today.

Genie Back in Bottle

It does not matter if the whole world thinks Trump's actions are foolish (and they are), they will go along or face sanctions. Effectively, the genie is back in the bottle unless the EU is willing to stand up to Trump.

EU's Blocking Statute

On May 17, 2018, the EU announced a "Blocking Statute" that would allow companies to deal with Iran.

“We will begin the ‘blocking statute’ process, which aims to neutralise the extraterritorial effects of US sanctions in the EU, said European Commission president Jean-Claude Juncker.

The “blocking statute” is a 1996 regulation that prohibits EU companies and courts from complying with foreign sanctions laws and stipulates that no foreign court judgments based on these laws have any effect in the EU.

The European council president, Donald Tusk, added at a meeting of EU leaders: “We agreed unanimously that the EU will stay in the agreement as long as Iran remains fully committed to it. Additionally the commission was given a green light to be ready to act whenever European interests are affected.”

Tusk, who accused Trump’s administration of “capricious assertiveness” earlier in the week, told reporters: “The problem is if your closest friend is unpredictable. It is not a joke now. This is the essence of our problem now with our friends on the other side of the Atlantic. I can agree with President Trump when he said unpredictability can be a very useful tool in politics. But only against enemies and opponents. Unpredictability is the last thing we need with friends and family.”

Ho Hum

Not a single EU country or company announced it would deal with Iran. They all fear US sanctions.

As I said, one man now gets to decide sanction policy for the entire world. This is despite the fact, that Iram was actually honoring the deal and the EU wanted the deal to continue.

India an Exception?

On May 29, India, a top Iranian oil importer, announced it Will Not Heed U.S. Sanctions.

It will be interesting to see how long that lasts and what China does, but any companies that deal with the US will all fall in line.

This is the sorry state of global affairs.

Trump managed to undo the one major thing Obama got right and on which our allies agree, and military leaders agree. Nothing good can possibly come from this.

Mike "Mish" Shedlock

Comments (18)
No. 1-18
2banana
2banana

Mish - today's lesson is the difference between a made-up personal "agreement" of a past president (that has no authority or rule of law) and a senate ratified Treaty.

Our second lesson is the difference between UN imposed Sanctions a made-up personal "agreement" of a past president (that has no authority or rule of law).

Our third lesson is Iran (and most of the muslim's world) boycott (sanctions) of Israel.

Funny - never heard you call that a war. I must have just missed it.

++++

As I said, one man now gets to decide sanction policy for the entire world. This is despite the fact, that Iram was actually honoring the deal and the EU wanted the deal to continue.

RobinBanks
RobinBanks

Time for the members of the Shanghai Co-operation Organisation to grow a pair and tell America to do one. Putin stepped in just in time over Syria, he needs to step in sooner this time if he wants to prevent "regime change" by the CIA in Tehran.

thimk
thimk

Alternate non dollar payment systems will arise. the mighty dollar will slowly be rendered feckless . Iran has middle east's largest deposit's of gold. India will net export much more to iran plus they get cheap oil/gold .

2banana
2banana

Huh? It all ready exists. Any country in the world can pay any other country in the world in whatever currency they please. Or with gold. Or with barter. Or with debt. Or with pixie dust.

The dollar survives for trade due to:

  1. Cost of transaction (you want to move tons of gold around every day?)
  2. Trust (you gonna trust a currency with massive fluctuation? Or you can't really exchange?)
  3. Liquidity
2banana
2banana

Oh my - it is a WORLD WAR!

Canada Preparing Steel Quotas, Tariffs on China, Others

"The Canadian government is preparing new measures to prevent a potential flood of steel imports from global producers seeking to avoid U.S. tariffs..."

And The EU is going to do something similar.

Doesn't ANYONE see the Mish light that being the sucker the US used to be in global trade is the way of prosperity and economic utopia?

FloydVanPeter
FloydVanPeter

Posts about Iran topics on this blog are partial (let's say). Allow me to explain.

The critique about sanctions is well put. But, what about other boycotts and sanctions? To be fair, @Mish could take the position that he comments only about US originated sanctions.

@Mish : Iran did violate the NPT, which it signed willingly and benefited from. What are you suggesting the international community should do about this? "Nothing really" signals others can skirt the NPT with impunity.

Iran is quite aggressive towards other countries in its sphere of influence (which goes way beyond its neighbors). Threatening Israel with annihilation should have caused an uproar in the "enlightened world". Iran's involvement in Syria and Yemen is questionable.

And, Iran has a racist and fundamental-religious agenda. It was allegedly involved in murdering Jewish people. It openly supports and controls Hezbollah, which is a racist terror militia committed to the destruction of Israel and killing Jews.

We could take the position that we don't care about these issues. We are just going to mind our on business. Alas, the case can be made that Iran poses a regional and genocidal threat. By extension, do you suggest then that the US shouldn't have joined WWII in Europe?

CautiousObserver
CautiousObserver

2banana said: "Doesn't ANYONE see the Mish light that being the sucker the US used to be in global trade is the way of prosperity and economic utopia?"

I see Mish's point that confiscatory taxes on trade help nobody, especially when so many debt-laden economies rely on economic growth to stay solvent. Also, tariffs do amount to a sales tax imposed on domestic consumers by the Federal Government.

Any US consumers who do not feel like chumps are not paying attention. First they struggle to increase their wages under noneconomic fiscal and social policies imposed by the government. Second, they are forced to pay more because government imposes heavy taxes on the purchase of competitively priced foreign made goods. Finally, to top it all off, the US Federal Government is going to decree what other countries are allowed to do between each other in third party transactions. Talk about overreaching...

RobinBanks
RobinBanks

Totally disagree. I visited Iran for about three weeks last year and I don't recognise the country you are describing. I visited Armenian Christian communities in Iran and saw how free they were to practice their religion. Vank Cathedral is stunning. The real fascists in the Middle East are Saudi Arabia with their Wahhabism. Here is an excellent documentary explaining America's poisonous relation with Saudi Arabia.

Stuki
Stuki

"Peace, commerce, and honest friendship with all nations-entangling alliances with none"

That was the motto back when America still retained some aspirations of being a civilized country.

Not: "Tweets, sanctions and bombing of some nations, on-off entangling alliances with the rest..." That only came about long once any pretense of civility were long since thrown by the wayside, in the rush to be crowned valedictorian at the academy of progressive idiocy.

JonSellers
JonSellers

This is some scary shit. I have no confidence that the president or his ardent supporters have a clue about how globalized the world's manufacturing supply chains are. I also don't think the president or his ardent supporters understand how globalized the web of debt is. Trump throws out some random "sanctions" on China and the EU and suddenly very few American manufacturer's can produce anything at the costs their customers are willing to pay. Then they can't pay their loans and bonds. Then everyone supporting the President here is wondering why there are no jobs, and their kids are hungry. Then, of course, they blame Obama. Jesus people. You have to try and understand this stuff.

Tengen
Tengen

Mish said "Trump managed to undo the one major thing Obama got right and on which our allies agree, and military leaders agree. Nothing good can possibly come from this".

Yep. Obama did awful things in Libya, Syria, and Yemen, but he did put us on a productive path with Iran. The mullahs have been visibly losing popularity for decades and it's a matter of time before they're discarded by their own people. The young in particular (which is important given their demographics) care little for the clerics. The only thing that could bolster the ayatollahs is the threat of foreign attack.

CzarChasm-Reigns
CzarChasm-Reigns

"one man now gets to decide sanction policy for the entire world." ---MIsh. ............................"King Chaos FIRED democracy!" ---Me

Tengen
Tengen

I remember watching Bitter Lake. It's a shame that every president since FDR has honored that agreement, while feeling comfortable breaking so many others.

Trump doubled down on this, being the only president to make Saudi Arabia his first foreign visit. Then there was the orb, the sword dance, and the rest of the odd spectacle. Now it's apparently okay for the Saudis to torture billionaires until they cough up money, something I doubted I'd ever see before a global meltdown. Is there anything they're not allowed to do?

FloydVanPeter
FloydVanPeter

+1 We count several of them... Iran isn't alone.

Steve Bull
Steve Bull

It is unilateral declarations and actions such as this that seems to be hastening the abandonment of the US dollar as THE currency de jour. One wonders if the US decision-makers think they can outmaneuvre everyone else as this process unfolds, if they think they can leverage their military to ensure everyone complies, or if this is a brilliant scheme to redo the nuclear agreement with Iran. Only time will tell but history shows no dominant currency retains its privileged position forever...